Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
Everybody suffers! Suffering is a common experience all people go through at some time during their lives. However, all people do not handle suffering the same way.
In this article, you will learn these major things about suffering, according to 2 Corinthians 1 which was penned by Paul.
- God will deliver you out of your suffering no matter how severe it might be.
- You must endure your sufferings to be an example for others who suffer.
- God comforts you while you suffer.
- Jesus experienced every type of suffering so He can identify with everyone.
1. God is the Father of Mercies and All Comfort
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:3 tells us two encouraging things about God.
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.
God is the Father of mercies to us just as He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Notice the word "mercies" is plural. That means God doesn't show us mercy only once. He is the Father of mercies that continue upon those who suffer. To say God is the Father of mercies is also to say that it is His nature to shower mercies upon us continuously.
God is the God of all comfort means that whether we realize it or not, God consoles us in our suffering and strengthens us.
2. Be a Testimony to Others
Second Corinthians 1:4 tells us that God comforts us while we suffer so we can be a testimony to others who are suffering.
God comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Notice Paul says God comforts us in all our troubles and not just some of them. He does not say God makes us suffer so we can help others when they suffer. Instead, the scripture says, God comforts us in all our trouble so we can comfort others in any of their trouble. Notice the keyword "comfort" is mentioned three times in that short verse. That means the comfort we receive from God is the subject of that scripture.
3. Your Comfort Matches Your Suffering
Paul tells us in Corinthians 1:5 that God matches our comfort to be equal to our sufferings.
For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
Jesus experienced the worst kind of suffering imaginable, even the suffering unto death. He had to experience every kind of suffering to become the first fruit of our suffering so He can identify with every person's suffering.
People mean well when they tell you, "I feel your pain." However, they can only empathize with you. Jesus Christ is the Only One who can feel your pain because He is the Only One who has gone through what you are going through.
Keep in mind that God matches the comfort with your suffering no matter how much you are suffering and the reason for your suffering. Always remember that you will never feel anything that Jesus Himself never felt.
4. Your Suffering Stirs Up Other Believers
We learn in 2 Corinthians 1:6-7, that God uses your suffering to stir up other believers.
If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
Notice in the two scriptures above, your suffering and the comfort you receive serve the same purposes. God uses both in a believer to stir up four things in other believers.
- God uses your suffering to stir comfort in others who suffer (2 Corinthians 1:3).
- God uses suffering for us to continue in our faith.
- God uses our suffering to show others that we can endure.
- God uses our suffering to let others know they are not alone. In other words, suffering is a shared experience.
All of this means that we cannot be an example to others when they are suffering unless we have suffered, endured, and been comforted by God. What we go through is not just for us. We go through what we go through to help others.
5. Suffering Teaches Us to Trust God More
According to 2 Corinthians1:8-10, we learn that God uses our suffering to teach us to trust Him more and more. In those three verses, Paul outlined the trouble he endured while he was on one of his missionary journeys. He was at the point where he felt like he was going to die, but he relied on God who delivered him from all of his trouble.
Like Paul, we should trust God, not sometimes, but all the time.
6. Prayer and Thanksgiving Come with Suffering
According to 2 Corinthians 1:11, God uses our suffering to teach us to pray for ourselves and for other who are suffering. It also teaches us to allow others to pray for us. Our suffering also teaches us to thank God even before we are delivered out of our suffering.
On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
Prayer causes God to move on our behalf and to deliver us out of our suffering.